As psychiatric drugs often cause severe side effects, such as personality changes, decreased sexual desire, sleep disorders, drug dependence, mode sewing, and depression, many people who seek help for anxiety often consider antipsychotic medications as a last option. However, if you are looking for healthier, natural, and safer alternatives, here are a few natural remedies for you to fight against anxiety and stress.
Ingredients that Help Fight Mental Disorders
Catnip (also known as catmint), a native herb in Europe and Asia, is a species of the mint family. Catnip has a history of medicinal use in many ancient cultures; today, many traditional medicine practitioners still use this ingredient to treat a variety of conditions including indigestion, gas, stomach cramps, fever, worms, insomnia, anxiety, and headache. Catnip has been thought to have a calming effect on mind and body, and this unique property makes it a popular ingredient to relieve anxiety and stress.
Side effects and availability: Although limited studies have done to evaluate the efficacy and adverse effects of catnip but seems to be safe for most adults. This natural ingredient is available in market as dietary supplements, extracts, teas, juices, and tinctures. Some people also smoke catnip to calm their anxiety, but many herbal practitioners believe it is unsafe when smoked.
Lemon balm (also known as Melissa) is another member of the mint family that possesses strong anti-anxiety property; since the ancient times, it is reputed for its calming effect on mind and body. In clinical studies, lemon balm has been reported to effectively ease anxiety and promote sleep. However, the calming effect of lemon balm mostly reported when combined with other anti-anxiety herbs (e.g. chamomile, valerian, and hops). Lemon balm is also found effective in several other diseases and conditions including alzheimer's disease, cold sores, dyspepsia, colic, stomach discomfort, restlessness, and headache.
Side effects and availability: This natural ingredient is available in market as dietary supplements, teas, tinctures, and oil. Studies haven't yet reported any significant side effects of lemon balm, but researchers recommended that it must be taken for a short duration and in appropriate amount.
Passionflower (also known as Passion vine) is one of the popular herbal remedies for anxiety and stress. It also has a long history of using as a folk remedy. In clinical studies, passionflower has proven its efficacy in reducing the symptoms of mild to moderate level anxiety. A study done by the researchers of The Cochrane Collaboration reported that passionflower showed nearly similar efficacy compared to several drugs of benzodiazepine class.
Side effects and availability: Several studies suggest that the effects of passionflower is milder than Kava Kava (another potential natural remedy for anxiety), however, unlike Kava Kava, passionflower has fewer side effects. According to medlineplus, this ingredient is safe when taken short-term as medicine. It is available in the market as dietary supplements, teas, infusions, liquid extracts, and tinctures.
Disclosure: If you want to buy any of the ingredients mentioned above, don't think they are safe and harmless. As a health care professional, I am requesting you to consult with your doctor or pharmacist before purchasing any herbal products containing any of the ingredient I mentioned above. You may have an underlying condition that you are not concerned of; hence, any medicinal substance either herbal or pharmaceutical can worsen your condition.
In addition, whenever you're about to buy any medicinal products, always ask your pharmacist the following questions:
- What are the side effects of the product?
- How many studies have done to evaluate the product?
- What is the reputation of the manufacturer when it comes to quality?
- Which quality guideline does the manufacturer ensured?
- How many regulatory authorities have approved the product (if the product is distributed to overseas countries)?